Can you eat raw tofu? Vegetarians mostly ask this question, since it is a replacement for meat in their diet. Tofu, a food that originated from China, is made from soybean. It is versatile and can come in different forms like silk, soft, firm and extra firm. Meat and other diary products are usually replaced with tofu as it is high in protein and low in fat. Tofu can be eaten in many ways like grilled, stir fried, baked or even eaten raw. It can be used as an ingredient in salads, soups or sandwiches.
HOW TO MAKE TOFU
Tofu is made from soaking soybeans in water to soften the pulp, this softening also makes the beans to swell up too. The beans is now crushed with a machine and they are turned to grainy paste. After that, stationers are used to separate the paste into milk and pulp.
Minerals like magnesium salts and calcium are added to the liquid milk, the cords are now passed through pressing machines, these machines wrong out the excess moisture and the tofu is made into different shapes. The chaff and pulp can be used for other things like making animal’s food.
NUTRIENTS IN TOFU
Tofu is packed with many nutrients especially protein and animo acids that your body needs. In fact, in 2018, the U.S department of agriculture published that a 100-gram serving of raw, firm tofu prepared with calcium sulfate has the following major nutrient
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fat: 9 grams
- Calories: 144
- Protein: 17 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Selenium: 32% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 18% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 15% of the DV
- Iron: 15% of the DV
- Magnesium: 14% of the DV
- Zinc: 14% of the DV
- Calcium: 53% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Manganese: 51% of the DV
- Copper: 42% of the DV
HEALTHS BENEFITS OF TOFU
There are many benefits of eating tofu. Health regulators in Canada and in the United States have approved claims and researches that soy protein can lead to a lower risk of heart disease. It can also reduce the risk of having daibetes, cancers including breast cancer. There are many ways of eating tofu, you can add the raw tofu to sauces, purées and smoothies to get that distinctive taste.
CAN YOU EAT RAW TOFU
This is the question most people ask, well, the answer is technically yes. You can eat raw tofu, this is because it is not really considered as being raw as it has passed through many processing especially heating when it is being manufactured. This makes it certain to say tofu does not have harmful bacteria or germs that can be found in raw foods like fish, meat or plants.
Even in their uncooked state, tofu has great amount of protein which makes it okay for vegetarians and vegans. It contains low calories too whether raw or cooked and other nutrients are still packed in them. If you eat it raw and alone, your body will sure get those nutrients as well. Some people love eating raw tofu because most cooking methods can add more fats and oils thereby increasing fat and calorie intake.
You should know that not all tofu types should be eaten raw although this depends on individual preference. Silken tofu is mostly preferred by people because it has a softer and a smoother texture. Another type like the firm tofu has a denser texture, because of this, it is difficult to chew.
Many like to eat silken tofu raw most times because it is easier to chew, although others prefer firm tofu.
To eat raw tofu, you must buy tofu that has been fermented and cultured, that is organic tofu. Eating organic tofu is to be sure that it is free from germs and has the best flavor. Cut the tofu into small pieces to make it easy to digest. If you are not comfortable with eating raw tofu, you can cook it. It retains its taste whether cooked or raw.
CAN YOU EAT RAW TOFU FROM THE PACKAGE
Tofu can be eaten from the package but be sure to drain off the excess water from it before eating. But there are some things you should bear in mind. Make sure it is organic because if it is not, it may mean that it is not properly cooked. Whether you are eating from the package or not, you should cut your tofu into small pieces to make them easily chewable.
CAN YOU EAT TOFU RAW IN A SALAD
Tofu is a versatile food that can easily blend into different foods including salads. In fact, it makes a lot of sense and is delicious. Tofu has a natural flavor, some say it has a nutty flavor too so it can go well with almost all dressings.
You can crumble it into your salad, slice it like your cabbage or even cut it into cubes like your other veggies, you can even add avocado. You see, it is so versatile. Some say tofu has a watery taste in the mouth, this may be because of the excess water in the package. But, you can add it to the ingredients for your fruit salad to make it healthier since it is packed with proteins, vitamins, protein, calcium and magnesium.
However, you should know the type of tofu to choose for your salad as some needs to be pressed very well in paper towels to remove the excess water in them and not to make your salad watery or make your dressing look watery.
CAN YOU EAT TOFU RAW WITH NO MARINADE
Tofu can be eaten without being marinated, the taste will still be perfect. Tofu is so versatile that it can absorb all the ingredients and flavors added to it. You can also marinade with natural ingredients like spices, herbs and nuts to add to the taste.
Marinated tofu tastes perfect in sauces, salads, stews or as topping in soups. Before marinating, make sure to press the tofu, you can also freeze it before marinating. You can marinate for at least 30 minutes, these minutes are enough to give you a flavored tofu.
POTENTIAL RISKS OF EATING RAW TOFU
Unlike raw meat or eggs, tofu has little risk of giving you food borne illness because it has already been cooked during the manufacturing process. However, you may still get food borne illness because of the preparation process. This can happen if a sick employee handled the food or anyone sneezed or coughed while the tofu is being processed. Also, if cross contamination happens or the food gets in contact with bacteria infested raw food, this can cause illness.
If the water used in storing the soybeans before grinding is contaminated or dirty, this can make pose a risk. A study published by the National Library of Medicine in 1985 claimed that the outbreak of Yersinia enterocolitica, a severe gastrointestinal infection can be linked to tofu that was processed with untreated water. Another study in 2001 suggested that tofu may cause Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause foodborne illness symptoms. But the presence of nisin, one of the preservatives can stop the bacteria from growing.
Several studies have also shown that the raw tofu fermented with yeast which is different from the ones you see in stores can contain Clostridium botulinum, a dangerous toxin that can cause paralysis. People with low immune or compromised immune system like infants, pregnant women, adults over age 65 and those with autoimmune conditions can get more serious consequences of foodborne illness. These food borne illnesses can cause you to experience vomiting, headache, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, nausea and gas.
HOW TO SAFELY EAT RAW TOFU
1. If you like eating your tofu from the package, you will have to drain out the excess water. If you are not eating your tofu immediately you buy it, it is important that you store it very well to avoid as germs likely grow on unused food portion.
2. Bacteria are more likely to grow if the tofu is stored at temperatures between 40–140°F (4–60°C), a range known as the danger zone.
3. If you are not eating from the package, maybe adding to your salad or any other meal, you should make sure other foods are properly washed and have no germs in them. Also, make sure the cooking utensils are properly sterilized including the surfaces.
Tofu has already been cooked so it is not classified as a raw food. You can eat it raw straight from the package or you can add it to your meals including salads. If you are eating the tofu raw, be sure to drain out excess water from it.
However, it is advised you only buy organic tofu as it may have less risk if being contaminated. Also, if you are adding your tofu to a dish, be sure that the other meals are carefully and properly washed especially raw meat and fish to avoid cross contamination. Wash all your cooking utensils too. Tofu is packed with many nutrients that just a 100-gram will give your body the required essential nutrients.